BP may land up paying billions of dollars in damages, but will this replace the ocean? Will this buy us new plankton, new dolphins, fish, whales and most importantly a clean ocean? It most certainly won't. It can not do this, it is an impossibility. Once you pollute something like that it is polluted, no amount of money can fix this. Once the air is polluted that is it, it is dirty. Once the eco-system is destroyed a value that never was recognized in the monetary system is lost. Something priceless has been lost.
Money has no ability to accept this. It can not deal with that which holds infinite value because infinity is about abundance while money is about scarcity. The two work in direct opposition to each other. This is why we allow drilling in the bottom of the gulf because we actually have not priced in the value of the clean water. If we were to do this, it holds the potential of destroying the very pricing mechanism that enables the drilling of oil.
At the end of the day BP will pay huge fines and then go back to drilling. But, something will have been lost. We will try and put a price on it but in the end it won't even come close to the true value of this disaster.
It is time to recognize that there is value in the abundance of a clean and healthy eco-system. That this value is infinite and that our monetary system fails at taking this into consideration. It is time to innovate and develop a monetary system that knows how to recognize the value of things that are priceless.
How do we do this? I wanna know! It is something that I puzzle over daily while knowing it is critical to our future as a healthy species. Infinite value and abundance.